The efforts of Cal’s basketball recruiting, after such an encouraging Class of 2010, have quickly downhill. The downward spiral has continued in recent days, as top targets Brandon Ashley and Dominic Artis have either committed or have removed Cal from the consideration.
There are some very legitimate questions to be asked about how Coach Montgomery and his staff are performing in recruiting, and I’ll post about them in the near future. For now though, we’ll be looking at the decisions made by Brandon Ashley and Dominic Artis and the impact on this recruiting class. Don’t worry; we’ll be taking a closer look at the global view of the program, but for now the focus is on the recruits that made moves in the recent days.
Ashley was a five star talent who seemed to favor Cal relatively early in the process, but in the recent months it’s become evident that Cal’s elimination from the race was a mere formality. Ashley became enamored with the big-time programs, and while Cal is a solid basketball school, it’s not on par with the big programs. On his final 7 are Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Oregon, Syracuse, Texas, and UCLA. Not all of those schools are traditional powers, but all bring something to the table that Cal doesn’t. To be honest, I never expected Cal to beat out those schools for Brandon and this comes as no surprise. The Bears will have to move on to other big man recruits, such as Grant Verhoeven.
Dominic Artis’ commitment to UCLA come as much more of a surprise. I thought his decision would be delayed at least a little more, but he had his mind made up that he was going to be a Bruin. Cal appeared to be his second choice, but being second just isn’t good enough. Artis clearly wanted to be a Bruin; it was just a matter of Ben Howland stepping forward with an offer. I do believe Cal would have signed him if UCLA wasn’t in the mix, but that’s clearly not what happened and we can’t focus on what could have been. It’s very disappointing to lose a top prospect, especially when you’re so close, but the staff just has to move on and focus on other recruits.
Both sets of news means that Montgomery and his staff will have to pursue secondary targets. At the point, guys like Tyrone Wallace and several other under the radar guys become priorities for recruitment. Wallace is the most highly touted of the remaining point guards on the board, so he’ll probably be the guard chased hardest. With Ashley officially gone, Grant Verhoeven and Ricardo Gathers become even bigger priorities on the big man recruiting front. Those two are the biggest targets, but there are plenty of other players that the Bears are actively recruiting that could be part of the Bears class of 2012.
This is very disappointing news, but there are plenty of other recruits out there and it’s best not to dwell on what could have been. The best we can could do is root for successes in the recruiting field in the future. Artis and Ashley will be missed, but these aren’t crippling to the effort of recruiting. Go Bears!